What might sound harsh for the majority of football fans, it is the new reality that Leicester City are faced with
In 2015, Chelsea Football Club led by Jose Mourinho lifted the club’s 5th domestic league title and the Portuguese gaffer was rewarded with a new, four – year contract for his great work and achievements at the London club.
Nobody could have predicted the events that have followed afterwards as Jose was fired just five months after signing the extension. A string of inexplicably bad results and a falling out with a few Chelsea stars were named as the main reasons and a year after that we see how the decision was the right one to make as Chelsea are coasting to another Premier League title led by Antonio Conte.
Perhaps because Jose is an unpopular character among rival supporters and journalists and “schadenfreude” has played its part, it was OK back then for him to be axed despite the backing he received from Chelsea fans. But somehow Ranieri, the likeable old Italian who led Leicester to their historic Premier League triumph, escapes that witch-hunt with his simple charm, easy humor and conformity with being the underdog or in this case, the loser.
Everyone seems to have forgotten how the current Leicester boss got the job in the first place. The Italian was hired after his predecessor, Nigel Pearson, had fallen out with the club’s ownership before the start of their triumphant 2015/16 season after he guided the team to an unlikely Premier League survival in the previous campaign.
Ranieri was available after getting fired by the Greek FA and being out of a job for about a year, an absolute rarity in the Premier League. He led the Greek national team to an embarrassing loss to minnows Faroe Islands, while his biggest recent achievement is leading Monaco to promotion to League 1 in 2013. To compare his credentials before what looks more and more like a “fluke” league triumph with Leicester with the likes of Marco Silva, Walter Mazzarri or even Chris Hughton and David Wagner in the Championship, the appointment of Claudio Ranieri does seem like a strange move. A seasoned, nomadic, worn out-looking manager who was out of a job for a relatively long period of time after a few less than impressive stints was hired to avoid getting relegated, and boy, did it work!
Back then, pundits and numerous experts have written Leicester off for Premier League survival the moment news of Ranieri’s appointment broke and people who were laughing at those predictions after Leicester lifted their first ever league title can now go back and see exactly what they meant.
Looking how Marco Silva and Paul Clement have revived Hull and Swansea respectively, can serve as a good example for Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabrha. The Foxes have lost 10 of their last 15 Premier League matches and find themselves only a point above the relegation zone. They were knocked out of the FA Cup by Championship side Millwall and are about to face La Liga’s second best team, Sevilla, in the Champions League who are led by the brilliant Jorge Sampaoli.
Not doing anything is also a decision as things stand at the moment, but Leicester City fans definitely deserve an emotionless decision from their ownership. Yes, the man has achieved the impossible, but he is also guiding them to getting relegated as well.
Between playing Sevilla both home and away, the Foxes will play their three most important games of the season in the Premier League. Liverpool and Hull at home and Arsenal away. Should they fail to get at least 5 points out of those fixtures, it should most definitely be “Game Over” for the manager that has won all of our hearts last year.